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Trip Report A scoop of Croatia, a handful of Bosnia, and a pinch of Montenegro - a trip report

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This was the recipe for an amazing trip – 10 days traveling thru Croatia, Bosnia, and Montenegro. I’ll try to organize my report so that it is most helpful for those planning trips and also enjoyable for those who have been to these wonderful places. I’ll start with the logistics first and then move on to the actual trip.

The Planning

First, I need to thank all of those Fodorites that have been to Croatia and wrote trip reports about it – that was our inspiration for this trip so THANK YOU. My husband what like “where the heck are we going??” at first, but the more we researched it the more excited he got. Even now that we are back, people are still asking “why did you go to Croatia?” and saying things like “that wouldn’t be my first choice.” It actually got so annoying that we dreaded telling people where we were going. But, now that we are back and they have all seen the pictures they understand.

We booked our flights 9 months prior. They were pretty pricey ($850 each) but didn’t seem too bad considering it’s a more remote destination. Besides using this forum for ideas, we also bought Rick Steve’s Croatia/Slovenia book. I know a lot of people don’t care for him, but I like his candid reviews of places and also his lodging and restaurant suggestions.

The Itinerary

Dubrovnik (Villa Ragusa) – 3 nights w/ day trip to Montenegro
Korcula Island (Villa Depolo) – 2 nights (too car ferry from Orebic on Peljesac Peninsula)
Plitvice Lakes (Knezevic Guest House) – 2 nights (took car ferry from Vela Luka on Korcula to Split and made quick stops in Split and Trogir)
Sarajevo (Guest House Halvat) – 1 night (stopped in Mostar and Medjugorje on the way back to Dubrovnik)
Dubrovnik – 2 nights

The Packing

Much to the surprise of our friends, we were able to pack everything in carry-on luggage. We each took a 21” roller and a small tote. I bought enough liquids for 10 days and managed to fit them into 2 quart-sized ziplocs. Bed, Bath, & Beyond has a great travel section by the way. The weather forecast looked pretty grim for this trip so we packed mostly long sleeves that we could layer, as well as rain jackets, and 2 pairs of shoes each. Surprisingly, I only had to re-wear a few things. It’s amazing how much you can fit when you roll everything up really small.

The Driving

We rented a car thru Economy Car Rentals since they had, by far, the best rates. Luckily, my husband can drive a manual as it was much cheaper (around $300 for 7 days). We ended up getting upgraded to a bigger car for the same price which was nice. It was a bright (and I mean bright) blue Skoda. I should mention that gas was ridiculously expensive. We thought we were paying a lot in the US, but we calculated it to be about $10 per gallon over there!

The driving in Croatia was fairly easy for the most part. The coastal road from Dubrovnik was beautiful to drive along, and the A-1 highway from Split going North was wonderful. The roads in Bosnia are very different. Driving from Plitvice Lakes to Sarajevo took almost 6 hours, and it was entirely on a two-lane road until we got just outside of Sarajevo where it looks like they are building a new highway. I found it interesting in both countries that the road signs rarely refer to the road you are on. Instead, they use the city names for directions. This was confusing at first since we got directions from Via Michelin, and they used road numbers and names. It was much better once we got a great map.

Driving in the cities was a bit (okay a lot) stressful. We got a little turned around leaving Dubrovnik, and Split was just a nightmare…mostly because we didn’t have a good map. We thought Split was the worst we would see until we got to Sarajevo. It was snowing when we got there, and we went in circles looking for our guest house. I couldn’t believe we returned the rental car without a scratch on it!

At least my husband now knows why I always say we could never be on the Amazing Race because of the driving. He is an aggressive driver, and I am a backseat driver so that is the makings of a very bad combination, although I am sure it would be great for ratings!

Stay tuned for our arrival in Dubrovnik….

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